How Your PhD Degree Program Prepares You For Life

woman and man shaking hands

Many students eventually wonder if they should earn a PhD. They believe that earning an advanced degree can help them pursue certain jobs or to level up in their current careers. But there are a lot of things to take into consideration when earning an online or on-campus PhD. The time commitment alone can be a real concern for working individuals with other obligations. In addition, the level of academic work required of PhD students may be unparalleled in undergraduate or master's degree programs. This can leave learners wondering if earning a PhD is really worth it.

However, the advanced degree is just the beginning of the benefits that participating in a PhD degree program can bring. The work that it takes to become a PhD student develops a number of important workplace and life skills.

Five Important Skills You Develop During a PhD Program

Working With Supervisors

Earning your PhD online or on-campus is not a solo endeavor. You work closely with academic supervisors who help you narrow down your thesis, conduct your research and eventually defend your dissertation. Working with your PhD supervisor parallels how individuals work with other leaders and managers as an employee or peer; it may even provide insight on how to better work with your current or future employees. You must learn to communicate with experts in the field as well as receive critique on your work from them. Learning the skills in an academic setting can prepare you for current and future leadership roles.

Sharing Ideas

A PhD student is always thinking about their dissertation. It becomes a focal point in their life as they progress through their PhD journey. As such, the PhD student is always sharing their thoughts about their field as well as discussing their own research. They do this for a number of reasons. The first is because they are passionate about the subject. They have to be in order to devote this type of time to it. They also do this because they need to network and share their ideas with other people in the field and present at conferences.

Problem-Solving Through Research

On just about every one of the lists of “soft skills” that employers are looking for you will find problem solving as a skill that is required of workers in the 21st century. A PhD student is an expert in problem solving through research. They are often researching challenges and areas of opportunity, which may not be adequately covered or discussed, in their chosen dissertation area. They complete their own research in order to discover how to solve a problem or add to the body of knowledge around it.


The hallmark of the PhD degree program is the dissertation. A dissertation is essentially a book that shares the information that the graduate has learned about their topic and the research that they have conducted. Developing a dissertation often requires many drafts, revisions and years of hard work. PhD students become excellent written communicators as they refine their work.

Time Management

Online PhD programs and on-campus PhD programs can require several years to complete. Generally, learners who are earning their PhD may also be faculty assistants, researchers or even be employed outside of the university. This means that they have to find time to devote to their dissertation and research. In order to complete their work in a timely manner, a PhD degree student needs to develop time management skills. They must spend their time working on things that propel them forward in the dissertation process.

If you are ready to earn the highest-level advanced degree in your field, join any of the PhD programs in the Grand Canyon University College of Doctoral Studies.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.